Algae blooms on lakes are a common sight in the Alberta summer, and Coal Lake was no exception. The problem? Coal Lake is Wetaskiwin’s main source of water. With elevated levels of organic carbon, color, iron, and UV absorbance, the water treatment plant couldn’t keep up, resulting in issues with taste, odor, and toxins.

The plant needed to be upgraded. However, with an estimated price tag close to $25 million, this 12,000-person community couldn’t afford the expenditure. Our design-build-operate team proposed a lower cost solution that met treatment and regulatory goals—for less than half the cost. How? Treatment process enhancements and extensive reuse of existing infrastructure.

We upgraded the facility with new DAF units, GAC filters, and UV disinfection with enhanced chemical feed systems. The existing controls were removed, and a mezzanine level was added to house a new laboratory, electrical room, and control room with advanced PLC/SCADA. An idle facility outside the City is now used for sludge storage, reducing costs and minimizing odour impacts.

Now, residents can rely on Coal Lake and its plant to provide excellent quality water compliant with new provincial regulations.